The process of setting environmental guidelines of the JBIC

Commitment to set unified guidelines (In the spring of 1999)

"The Japan Bank for International Cooperation Law", which facilitated the establishment of "Japan Bank for International Cooperation" (JBIC) by merging Export-Import Bank of Japan (JEXIM) and Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF), was approved by the Diet in April, 1999. However, it did not refer to

respect for human rights, environmental and social sustainability, social justice, greater transparency, and public participation in its any articles, including the first article "Objectives".

During the discussion of this bill, several members of the Diet made questions and indication about the social and environmental standards. In response, the government promised to set unified guidelines that would cover both of ODA and Non-ODA operations (Operations handled by OECF and JEXIM) and that would match international standards, and secure participation of NGOs and other concerned people in the process of setting and revising thems. Additionally, supplementary resolution that requested more social and environmental consideration was approved by the both houses .

●International trend

The international trend much affects the setting of integrated guidelines. Operations handled by JEXIM include export credit operation that directly supports the export and overseas investment of Japanese corporations. Because activiies of such bilateral export credit agencies (ECAs) begin to have great impacts on society and environment of developing countries, international cooperaion is required. In the G8 summit conference of 1999, it was determined to set common environmental guidelines that would cover each country’s ECAs until the end of 2001, and OECD conducts international operations. JBIC declared that it would host an international workshop in April by inviting international organizations such as IFC and OECD, and ECAs of developed countries, and lead an international trend for more environmental consideration.

Establishment of JBIC and setting of environmental guidelines by former JEXIM (In October of 1999)

The JEXIM set environmental guidelines and published them for the first time just before the merger with OECF, in September 1999. This guidelines would be applied to International Finance Operations of the JBIC (operations handled by former JEXIM) until the setting of unified guidelines (Environmental guidelines set by former OECF continues to be applied to ODA loan operations. Thus, at present, the JBIC applies two different sets of environment guidelines). However, since the process of setting them and contents of them had fundamental shortcomings, each of national and international NGOs turned in comments requesting greater transparency and public participation, reinforcement of environmental assessment, and guidelines that match international standards.

Setting of “The Study Group on Environmental Guidelines for JBIC” (In October, 2000)

Work for setting new Guidelines for JBIC began to move fast in 2000. “The Study Group on Environmental Guidelines for JBIC”, which consisted of academics, NGOs, and representatives of governmental ministries and agencies, was established in October 2000 and began in-depth discussion about the contents of the integrated environmental guidelines of the JBIC.

This Study Group is an independent committee that consists of JBIC, experts on environment and social development, NGOs, and relevant governmental agencies, and seeks to summarize the discussions on major crucial points in Guidelines until next Spring. All of its meeting minutes are provided mainly through its website, and it will invite comments or information from the general public.

Based on recommendations by the study Group, The draft of new guidelines will be prepared for public comments.

For more details, visit the website of the Study Group on JBIC Guidelines